Monthly Archives: April 2012

Pav Bhaji: Indian Vegetarian “Chili” with Spiced Buns

Across the United States, everyone has their favorite version of Chili–a thick stew made with peppers, beans, meat, tomatoes, and spices.

I grew up eating my Mom’s version of chili (which I have to say may be the best…).  Her’s included tomato sauce, pork and beans, lots of beef and absolutely no chunky vegetables.  Man, it’s tasty!  But once I met Piyush, the chili had to change!

Because Piyush is Indian and was raised Hindu, beef is not something he eats.  Mom tweaked her recipe a little and substituted the beef with ground turkey or venison.  Once Piyush took a bite–even he was in awe!  He said it reminded him of Pav Bhaji–a wildly popular Indian street food found all over Mumbai (he grew up in Mumbai).

Since Piyush and I have been married, I have changed my mom’s chili even more.  I’ve added chopped veggies and about 5 different kind of beans. And every single time Piyush takes his first bite, he always says the same 2 things.

“This isn’t as good as your moms.”

and

“This reminds me of Pav Bhaji.  You should make me Pav Bhaji.”

So…finally–after 3 years of marriage–I have made him Pav Bhaji.

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And he was happy. Continue reading

Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds

I love lamb.  Although we don’t eat it often, it probably is my favorite meat–if it’s cooked right.

Lamb is one of those meats that can be a little tricky to cook.  Sure, you can toss it in a pressure cooker and cook it that way…but I just don’t think the taste is the same.  If you really want to cook lamb…and have it taste amazing…you have to cook it slow.

When I make a lamb curry I always cook it for at least 2 hours–stirring ever half hour.  It’s time consuming…yes; but because I only make lamb for special occasions, I want it to have the best flavor possible.

This was the first time I experimented adding vinegar, nuts and dried fruits to my lamb curry.  I usually make a Rogan Josh (which I have to say is the absolute best curry I make.   I’ve kept the recipe secret…so far.  But, I’m sure it’ll show up on here someday!), so this curry was a little out of my comfort zone.

I got the inspiration for this curry from the book I’m reading: “The Feast of Roses” by Indu Sundaresan.  It’s the love story of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and Nur Jahan (Mehrunnisa).  I find the story fascinating…and reading about all the rich, Mughal dishes makes my mouth water!

I wanted to use some of the ingredients I was reading about; and turn them into a fabulous curry.

Lamb Curry with Apricots and Almonds

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versatileblogger111

A Big Thank-You!

This post is a long time coming!  I’ve been meaning to sit down and share how absolutely thankful I am for all the wonderful emails, comments and publicity my little blog has received lately.

I appreciate all the kind words and I’m grateful that people–aside from my family–find my rambling stories, recipes and photos interesting!

Some Recent Accomplishments:

Three of my recent posts have made Foodbuzz’s Top 9:

(click the thumbnails to view the recipe/blog post)

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

       

Dabeli

Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza

One of my recipes has been featured on Yummly!  …this was exciting!

Indian Inspired Pasta Salad

Click HERE to read the article: Perfect Picnic Foods For National Picnic Day

I’ve received some “blogging love” from a few fellow bloggers!

Both Fig and Walnut and The Smiley Soyabean nominated me for the Liebster award.  I’m completely flattered and appreciate the blog love!

This award is supposed to help build a network for newer blogs…and I’m supposed to nominate 5 additional bloggers.  I’ll get to that in a second.

The Windy Kitchen was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Very cool!  Thank you for the nomination!

This award is kind of neat because upon receiving it, I’m supposed to share it with other bloggers I love and share 7 random facts about myself…so my readers can get to know me a little better.

7 Random Shari Facts:

1. I hate pickles.  I refuse to eat them and the smell alone makes me queasy (I’m pretty sure it’s in my head).

2. I’ve been blogging since I was about 14–although it wasn’t called blogging back then.

3. I wouldn’t eat onions, tomatoes and many other veggies until I was well into my 20’s.  Now, I love them!

4. I absolutely adore Bob Dylan.  Absolutely.

5. I would rather listen to music than watch tv, and always listen to the radio when I cook.

6. I’m allergic to milk.  I break out into hives, but can not seem to break it’s hold on me.  Dairy is just so good!

7. I’m also allergic to the cold.  Weird? Completely.  But, it’s true.  Cold weather brings on the hives! (…and here I am, living in Minnesota!).

Now, I know I’m supposed to nominate a bunch of blogs, but I’ve noticed most of the blogs I love and want to nominate have already recieved these very same awards…so I thought I’d list a few blogs I’ve been reading–ones that inspire me–and hopefully you’ll find them inspiring too!

The Subjectivist – Amrita is witty.  Her photos are incredible.  And her recipes are amazing.  I absolutely love her blog!

The Vanilla Bean Blog- A local Minnesota blogger.  There is no way to look at the photos on her blog and not want to eat what she is cooking.  The photos are beautiful!

Kolpona Cuisine- Fantastic recipes…I always find her food inspiring!

Saffron Streaks- love this blog!

Hobby And More- The photos are amazing…and the recipes are mouth-watering!  Additional bonus: it’s all vegan!

I read many, many more blogs than the ones listed…but they are a few I’ve found the most inspirational lately!


I just feel so happy and excited, and that is due to you–my readers.  Thank you for all the support.  Your kindness motivates me!

I hope you continue to read my little blog…and that I can continue to entertain you.  If only for a few minutes of your day!

Caramelized Onion, Purple Potato and Pistachio Pizza

Lately, Friday night has become Pizza Night in our household.  …Vegetarian Pizza Night, to be more accurate.  I make the dough, sauces, and chop up all the toppings in the afternoon, let the dough rise for a few hours; and by the time Piyush and I are ready for dinner, all I have to do is toss it in the oven and wait for it to bake.

I tend to make mostly vegetarian pizzas (there are some exceptions) because I don’t believe Piyush and I need to eat meat every single day.  I also think vegetables are so vibrant and beautiful…meat would only ruin the beauty of the pizza.

This week, I got the idea to use pistachios on our pizza.  I thought the green would be pretty, and the flavor would be unique.

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Bengali Shrimp Malai Curry

I have a confession to make.  I am a judgmental, picky–sometimes even bratty–eater.  I always have been.  If something looks funny, I might still try it; but I make no promises (ehhmm…pickles!).

Growing up, I had a list of foods I would absolutely refuse to eat.  The list included (but was not limited to): onions, shrimp (and other sea creatures), pickles, most vegetables and tomatoes (unless they were sauced, smashed, diced or in the form of ketchup.  I loved ketchup).

As I get older, I notice my taste-buds have evolved quite dramatically and most things on my list have been crossed off.  But, it wasn’t until I developed a love for Indian food (and a certain Indian…) that I began to appreciate onions, tomatoes, veggies…and shrimp.

Ok…If I’m being completely honest, I can’t say that I really enjoy shrimp (tolerate…yes.  enjoy…not so much.); but drowning the little, pink sea-creatures in a sauce of creamy curry sure makes it a whole lot easier.

Piyush, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the funky looking crustaceans and loves when I surprise him with a steaming bowl of shrimp curry.

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Vegetarian (Vegan) Navratan Korma –A Sweet and Mild Indian Curry

The korma-style curry is my ultimate favorite.  It’s sweet, mildly spicy, creamy…and just tastes so exotic.  One taste, and I was hooked!

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I’ve tried many different recipes–all of which weren’t quite right–and have 34 versions saved in my bookmarks… in a folder titled “I will Conquer Korma.”  True story.

This curry has driven me insane trying to replicate the texture and flavor I order at my local Indian restaurant. Continue reading

Dabeli: The Best Vegetarian (and Vegan!) “Burger” I’ve Ever Eaten!

Indian street food is like nothing else I’ve experienced.  It’s creative, it’s delicious and it’s cheap!  I’m not quite sure what makes the taste so unforgettable–some say it’s the oil, and the spices…most say it’s the dirt and the dust. Whatever it is…it works!

Before I went to India I was warned by my doctor, my parents and pretty much anyone I talked to, that I should not eat any of the street food or drink any of the water.  I tried my best to avoid the water—but the food was irresistible!

People lined up for lunch at a roadside stand in Kolkata.

With a hefty stash of Imodium and a few packages of Charmin toilet paper (too much information?!)…I tasted a little bit of everything.  At first I was worried that I’d get sick and my whole trip would be ruined…but when you’re traveling with someone who has spent most of their life in India, you want to enjoy what they do!

Washing Dishes at a Roadside Stand in Kolkata

Luckily, aside from some mild stomach aches, I survived!  …and I want to share my love of Indian street food with everyone!  I know it’s impossible for all my readers to travel half across the world…so I thought I’d share a few of the chaats (snacks) I loved– and a few Piyush craves– right here on my blog.

I’ve already blogged about the singaras (here) and the aloo tikkis (here); but today I want to introduce you to the dabeli!

Continue reading